There were several questions I didn’t have the answer to during my week teaching at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. I’m using this post to correct that with the hope that those who attended the class stop in here from time to time.
Several years ago I decided to make an another attempt at finding a business that would produce a name stamp I could use on tools, particularly carving tools, but other tools I’ve made or collected as well. Until recently I had hadn’t been satisfied with what I found offered, mainly because I couldn’t find stamps with classically formed letters with serifs. Having collected historic tools for decades and using primarily historic carving tools, I’ve long been acquainted with the custom of owners stamping their names on tools to identify them. Many of the tools I use have owner’s stamps, a number of them more than one. One chisel had three previous owner’s names stamped on it and it now has a forth, mine. While I signed wood tools that I made from the beginning, I was hesitant for years about marking tools that others had manufactured. In truth, I didn’t even think about. Perhaps it was a bit of not feeling worthy of the tools or not knowing if I was using them to their full potential. But as time goes on, you develop your skills and the tools that have come along on that journey with you become old and familiar friends. With carving tools in particular, you grasp the handle – where the owner’s names are stamped – and there is an intimacy with an object and the past that is rare in today’s world. The old line carving tools them being extensions of your hand is not an exaggeration or a nostalgic tale. You carve with your whole body, arms back, and legs.
My tools are in perfectly restored condition, can do anything a carver asks of them, and the years I’ve used them has deepened their patina. If I stepped away from them tomorrow, I would be proud to have my name on them in the condition I left them. It was time to find a stamp.
As we all know, this type of search is easier than ever to do today and I quickly identified a business I thought could make the stamp I wanted. Buckeye Engraving in Kent Ohio, makes hand stamps, dies and brands exclusively. There is even someone on the other end of the phone to discuss the process and clearly no job is too small, all I was ordering was one stamp with six letters and a period. You send a drawing or word document of your design, they send you a PDF at actual size as they will produce it. You can print it, cut it out if you want to see how it looks where you will use it, explain any changes or modifications and in a week or so your stamp arrives. It was a great experience. Look them up if you need something similar. www.steelhandstamps.com
The topic of contemporary extraordinary carving commissions came up and I could not remember the name of the British carver who recently completed a reproduction of the Uppark House Servery Table, a pair to the table being lost in a fire in the house in 1991. It was Peter Thuring and his shop who took on this once in a lifetime project. The result is stunning. See it here. The craft continues.